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Workforce Wednesday: Apprenticeships help students gain in-demand skills while continuing their education

June 23, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

We introduced you to Jerrittia Roseburgh in February, but there’s more to her story. She is a mother of five children who enrolled in the GRCC CNC Machining Job Training program in 2016 and then began an apprenticeship program through her employer, Autocam Medical.

Roseburgh recently received her Certificate of Completion of her Apprenticeship. This certificate, which is issued by the U.S. Labor Department, signifies an amazing accomplishment. She is now officially a journeyperson!

An apprenticeship program is a partnership between an employer, in this case Autocam Medical, and an educational institution, GRCC. The program offers the combined benefits of on-the-job training plus college instruction. Apprentices gain both practical experience and exposure to the theoretical aspects of skilled occupations.

Each company works with GRCC to create its own list of apprenticeship courses, which are then approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships. An apprentice is required to have a minimum of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training in addition to successfully complete 30 credit hours in the technology area to be eligible to receive their journey-person’s certificate.

This opportunity would not have come to Roseburgh without her initial training in the Machine Tool/CNC Job Training program. This 20-week training program is now housed in the new CNC Lab in the Applied Technology Center.

CNC machinists are in high demand. The jobs in the industry pay well and offer many upward pathways to increase that wage. Machinist-computer numerical control technicians shape metal and various materials to precise dimensions by using machine tools. MT-CNC technicians plan and set up the correct sequence of machine operations in accordance with blueprints, layouts or other instructions to write both manual and computer-generated machine programs. The technician is required to use various hand tools, micrometers, gauges and other precision measuring instruments.

To be most effective in the manufacturing environment of today, people will need to be able to read blueprints, perform basic shop math, read measurement tools and communicate effectively with others using today's Machine Tool/CNC terminology.

 “The training I received at GRCC was my foot in the door!” Roseburgh said. “I love my job! It has completely changed my life! I recently graduated from the two-year apprenticeship program. It is an incredible opportunity. Now I’m thinking about going back to school again for engineering.”

Anyone interested in gaining career skills through GRCC Workforce Training can connect via email at, and by phone at (616) 234-3800. Additional information is at

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